I recently gave an advocacy presentation for a women’s group I belong to, The Women’s Collaborative of Texas. It was a general overview of how to advocate and what advocacy looks like for folks here in Texas.
While I don’t always update the Verge Facebook page daily, I am regularly on Twitter. I have noticed that nonprofit organizations, outside of advocacy groups, are largely absent from posts and tweets about the proposed budget cuts here in our state.
What about where you live? Do you have nonprofit organizations talking about how the budget cuts will impact their services?
In Texas the proposed budget cuts are astounding. Health and Human Services is looking at a 24.6% cut. $7 billion cuts from public education. $1.7 billion cut from higher education, including scholarships to existing college students. And most alarmingly to me, $150 million cut to community-based mental health care services to adults and children and community mental hospitals. This only names a few!
And, these cuts do not completely account for the large cuts proposed to our federal budget will impact our most vulnerable citizens!
So, why isn’t the collective nonprofit voice being heard? Organizations like Texas Impact, Texas PTA, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Protects, Texas Forward, United Ways of Texas and others are leaders in the Texas advocacy world. They regularly speak up and speak out about community issues facing those populations nonprofit organizations serve.
Are local and regional groups in your state using their influence to educate about and fight against budget cuts? If not, there is still time.
Advocacy is simply speaking up about issues you care about. It’s making a phone call, posting on Facebook or Twitter, sending a letter or email, or even visiting with elected officials that represent your area. Your elected officials must hear from you in order to know what you care about!
I think most folks are clear that budget cuts are going to take place. Still, the voice of nonprofits serving local communities should be heard as discussions take place about what programs are eliminated or reduced.
Every nonprofit can teach their constituents to advocate for the services that are so desperately needed. If we don’t speak up, we will find ourselves in a crisis unlike any in recent memory. So, ask your supporters to make their voice heard and to say these three things:
1. State their name and zip code
2. Ask their elected official if they are supporting program cuts.
3. Say at least 1 way they/their family has benefited from a program being cut.
It’s a three minute task that can make a world of difference in local communities across our nation. Nonprofits, stand up!